Survival tactics: number three
A million dollar method:
It is one of the links in the chain of command I teach my Mind Mastery students. I’m giving away free because it truly is a life saver. Those who’ve read my book, The Mind Is Willing, and taken the course report this survival tactic has profound positive effects in their lives and their relationships. It has reduced stress significantly, and many have affirmed it literally as a life saving tactic
It’s vitally important to realize that in the majority of life situations instantaneous responses are not required. In fact most often they end up being inappropriate, problematic and in many cases make matters far worse.
Many people I speak with feel that being quick on the uptake with a hair trigger response style makes them seem smarter; they feel if they get their words in before anyone else, they are ahead of the game. If they take action faster than anyone, they appear to be better equipped for life. Indeed, people have been admired for their quick wit and speedy reactions in many situations. They have also often been faulted for precipitous actions that cause hurt or for being responsible for exacerbating a problem. I’m sure you know some people like that; those who speak first and think afterwards.
How many times have you said or done something that in retrospect you feel it would have been best to not say or do? Opening one’s mouth and putting the proverbial foot in it is an all too common experience. A newspaper reporter who spent considerable time with me at the HypnosisCenter, watching me do workshops and my classes, interviewing me complained to my husband, Don, “Elaine won’t blurt!” I knew she was looking for a quote that could be less than complimentary to my image. Saying something without thinking can have negative consequences; it has ruined many a person’s reputation. My mother advised, “Words spoken are like stones thrown, you cannot call them back.” I keep that in mind.
One client said to me, “I didn’t stop to think, I made a quick judgment and what I said caused me to lose a long time friend. I hurt her so badly she didn’t want to even discuss a way to mend things.”
Another client said, “I made a huge mistake that almost cost my son’s life. I reacted too quickly, I didn’t think to look around me and swerved into another car; he’s suffered serious injuries that he’s only now overcoming. I realized too late what my other options were. I can see them clearly now: I should have swerved to the side of the road instead.
The “I should” or “shouldn’t have said or done this,” is a cry of remorse about mindless reactions.
Being reactive isn’t helpful, ever!
Of course recognizing when quick thinking and fast action is required is important, in the right circumstances: The urgency for action dictates our response in some cases, and trusting instinct and intuition has saved lives; however only when the inner directives are moderated with innate wisdom and intelligence, not emotionally motivated and/or fear based responses. The so called “knee jerk” reactions most often are cause for regret.
Police and other law enforcement officers learn how to make rapid decisions while using well trained judgment calls. It saves their lives and the lives of those they are assigned to protect. Perhaps we all should have similar training.
We often operate on instinct, which can be a dependable judge of what to do when there isn’t a second to lose. Or, we rely on intuition, which is a combination of instinct and intellect; these two faculties come together to produce that sense of knowing that is so familiar to those who experience it. In a time sensitive crisis, these attributes of our humanness can indeed be life saving. However, in every day life seconds don’t often make the difference between life and death. Yet feeling an urgent need to act quickly without thinking clearly can cause irrevocable damage. Even if you physically survive a situation you created or one that’s been created by someone else, the quality of your inner and outer life is almost inevitably diminished. Seconds can be used much more wisely.
I’ve heard it said and probably said it many times in my 76 years, “Timing is everything.” Being in the right place at the right time can mean success or loss of opportunity. Having a good sense of timing is one of the attributes of good comedians and actors: Actually a good trait for people in every walk of life. What to say, how to say it and when to say it, and what to do, and how and when to do it is always a matter of good timing. Give yourself time to gather your wits before you do or say anything. And often times you will wisely decide to say or do nothing at all. Because let’s face it, when you take time to consider your options, and choose the one that makes the most sense at the time rather than second guessing later, you’ll always feel better about it. Rather than kicking yourself later for a blurt or blunder, you’ll know in retrospect you did your best, and that’s all anyone can do.
Saying yes when afterwards wishing you had said no is an all too common regret. Thinking first to clarify your understanding and note all of your options before you decide what’s best to say or do is crucial to your emotional survival as well as physical survival in many instances. Keep in mind healthy psychological survival is just as important as physical survival: Quality of life is as important as life itself.
Any attorney will tell you to shut your mouth and be quiet, don’t offer any information that could incriminate you when you are under police scrutiny. This is good advice for everyone. You may not be under police investigation or interrogation, but you are always going to have to take responsibility for what you say and do, and the consequences.
I worked with a physician some years ago who had come to me to alleviate depression and anxiety. He confided in me that he had quickly jumped to a conclusion, he said, based on a great deal of previous experience with people presenting the same symptoms, and prescribed meds that caused the patient serious side effects; her condition worsened and she almost died. (Read “Is experience a good teacher,” previous blog). Adequate testing not only proved his diagnosis wrong, his patient was worse off for his all too speedy judgment. Had he stopped to think and viewed his patient as an individual rather than a complex of symptoms, and not assumed anything, he would not have a law suit to contend with for malpractice, which had undermined his practice and confidence. He had learned an important lesson, but at his patients and his own expence.
I have, as you probably have, had doctors quickly diagnose before any testing done. One hasty unthinking arrogant doctor told me, with an attitude of complete confidence, that I most likely had an aneurism because my mother had had one; had I been the “average” patient I might have been alarmed and terrified. Instead I was angry and disgusted with his lack of good sense and hasty judgment. I told him I wasn’t my mother and asked if he was aware of iatrogenic medicine: Doctor caused medical problems. The power of suggestion, especially from an authority figure one seeks out for help or advice can cause serious health problems. The complex psychosomatic nature and elements of illness are often ignored and/or neglected by people in the medical field, and often generated by careless doctors who mindlessly give powerful negative suggestions to their patients. If he had stopped to think, he would have considered it wiser to suggest that some tests be done to rule out that possibility for me. Which he didn’t do by the way!
One client told me she had slapped her child’s face a few times in anger before thinking of how best to deal with his behavior, or think about the physical as well as psychological impact it would have on the little fellow. She told me that he became wary of her hands after that; cringing away from her when she expressed her displeasure, and even when she reached out to touch him for any reason.
Reactive behavior gets so many people into trouble and often wreaks havoc in theirs and the lives of those around them.
Haste indeed makes waste. Though as one adage claims, “He who hesitates is lost.” However, another says, “Don’t cross your bridges before you come to them.” For every saying there is a counter saying. Keep that in mind too. Time used wisely is a sturdy bridge to a better response.
So here is the million dollar life saver.
Relax before responding.
It’s that simple. Trust that given the few moments it takes to breathe in deeply and relax with the conscious intent to access subconscious resources and decide how to appropriately employ them will work wonders for you. The speed in which your subconscious can assess a situation is quite incredible, it processes billions of bits of information in nano seconds, so allowing the brief time it takes for it to bring relevant information to your conscious mind prepares you to say or do the best thing.
How often when growing up and even later in life were you told to count to ten before allowing anger or frustration take over? Good advice given by many wise parents. However, while you are counting, you are probably trying to calm yourself and distracting your self from the issue. However by counting you may actually be blocking the messages that come from your subconscious to advise you how to act. It’s helpful to understand how your conscious and subconscious work so you can work with them effectively; its what I teach. You need to use the time it takes to take a deep breath or two to consciously access subconscious wisdom and intuition, to bring it to consciousness so you can use it. It can happen in a few moments if you allow yourself the opportunity.
Relaxing before responding* gives you the edge. In your every day life when rapid fire reactions are not required or even appropriate, you will be able to think first, coordinate with your subconscious and act according to your best intentions. The stress you save yourself at that moment and afterwards is truly life saving. Stress is the number one killer in our society. So using this link will help you live more healthfully and comfortably with yourself and others.
TTFN and all the best, always, from Elaine Kissel
*This is just one the 30 links in the chain of command for Mind Mastery.